Editorial: DAYGLOW debacle evidence of bigger problem

When the announcement of DAYGLOW’s cancellation hit the NIU community, Facebook lit up.

Just two days before the sold-out event was scheduled to take place, NIU’s administration pulled the plug on the “world’s largest paint party,” citing issues with the Convocation Center’s sprinkler system. This prompted disappointed ticketholders to blast the university via social media.

But administrators should not be blamed for the actions they took. It is the responsibility of the university to maintain a safe environment for its students. Given the large amount of arrests and hospitalizations that have stemmed from past DAYGLOW shows, as well as the amount of tragic circumstances that have rocked this campus within the past four years, the cancelling of the festivities made a lot of sense.

But this call should not have come that close to the event.

The university’s decision, although appropriate and understandable, should not have been an 11th-hour choice. The largest incident at a prior DAYGLOW event, in which 44 hospitalizations were reported in Pennsylvania, happened months in advance of the NIU show and should have served as a catalyst for a review of the Convo’s safety measures in a much swifter fashion. The manner in which the situation was handled has not only cost NIU tens of thousands of dollars ($22,305 in box office, licensing and labor fees alone, not to mention inevitable legal fees brought on by the breach of contract with DAYGLOW), but created a backlash from a student population already frustrated with the handling of this learning institution.

One has to wonder how “in the know” the administration is about the Convocation Center. Surely an event of DAYGLOW’s magnitude was on its radar for quite some time, and certainly seems like something that should be of great interest to the university. Then again, it should be of great interest to the student population, but that is sadly far from the truth. It’s no secret that the Convo’s programming is often off the mark in terms of who is supposed to be dictating programming. This is not a great shock considering the venue’s confusing lack of desire for student input. At a university with organizations like Campus Activities Board, which is strangely absent from the scheduling of events at the Convo, it is mindblowing that there is even a problem.

So if the Convo is not communicating and working with the students or the higher-ups, and cannot properly handle itself when it makes large, DAYGLOW-sized promises, the Editorial Board is forced to consider why NIU even has it to begin with.

DeKalb, while it is an incredible little town rich with character, is located inconveniently. Too close to Chicago to justify a stop by a major tour, yet too far from the city to regularly attend big concerts. Add to that an unstable economy and the high price of gas, and it seems silly that the Convo was constructed in the first place. What makes this even more frustrating is that, when the Convo actually does something of note and books its only sell-out show in recent memory, its inability to maintain a university-approved facility while fostering a rift in communication is disheartening to say the least.

The Northern Star Editorial Board strongly urges the NIU community to reevaluate the effectiveness of the Convocation Center. In terms of both finances and morale, this campus cannot afford another DAYGLOW.